As I watched Dr. Christine Blasey Ford recount her story of surviving abuse, I remembered all the times I was afraid – in parking lots and at parties. I remember hands grasping and not knowing if it was wrong, if this is simply the ways things are. I remembered not knowing if the names shouted at me as I ran were meant for me and what was hoped for, except my shame and embarrassment.
I remembered all the times when I have been submissive and quiet in the face of men’s questions. I remembered the times when I knew I had done nothing wrong, yet I felt guilt and shame for my pain. I remembered I was right, but it didn’t matter. I remembered all the times I maintained my composure because I knew my credibility would be undermined by showing emotions, that I would be called shrill or volatile.
I remembered the times I said “I’m sorry” when I should not have been sorry, the times when the questions were absurd and I had no other choice but to sit before them and make the best. I remembered changing the tone of my voice or my writing, the “might”s and “should”s and “perhap”s that invaded my thoughts, that made me less intense, less disruptive to men.
I remembered feeling scared. I remembered not wanting to be there. I remembered having no other option but to be there.
I remembered being yelled at by men, of not knowing what to do with their anger. I remembered being scared of men’s anger, by their strength. I remembered what they could do to me and what they could get away with. I remembered that they knew this, too.
I remembered all the men who said they couldn’t have done harm because they of their “good reputation,” because they were priests, nurses, and school volunteers. I remembered how many children have been groomed by that lie now circulating for public consumption.
I remembered all the men who believed they had a right to a job, a role, a conversation because of where they went to school or how much money they made. I remembered that men can be angry and cry and it is seen as credibility and strength.
I remembered that a woman needing time to assess the consequences of her testimony, needing time to decide if she wants to turn her life upside down is considered a shameful, partisan attack on a man in power. I remembered all the men who made a scene and were considered powerful for it.
I remembered that women are demanded to prove the credibility of sexual assault through corroboration, that someone has to see me being assaulted or else it doesn’t count. I remembered I should do my best never to sexually assaulted because perhaps no one could corroborate. I remembered to be small. I remembered that none of that would matter if someone wanted to hurt me, to claim my body for his own.
I remembered that men believe the pain of an accusation outweighs the pain of a rape. I remembered that this is all show, that women’s bodies, the trauma and PTSD and double entrances to homes are all vapor as powerful get their own way.
Yesterday I remembered.